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Gus Barber

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Even if we can create life, should we?

Say we could create life, should we? Would it be wrong to? Where would we go with this technology? Should we wait for regulations? Are there regulations?

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  • Sep 9 2011: The word life has many connotations. From a biological standpoint, life refers to any object that has functioning, self sustaining processes (such as growth, the ability to utilize and store the energy of chemical reactions, the ability to respond to stimuli). From an anthropocentric viewpoint, one of self-awareness and consciousness and the ability to construct universals (in Bertrand Russell's sense of the word, where it is employed to describe the relationship between perceived objects), the term life takes on a different meaning; the complexity of a human being with all of its astounding emergent properties (from consciousness, to an immune system, and the list goes on) eclipses that of the simplest form of life, unicellular organisms, but it, by definition, is still a form of life.
    It is important to point out that life has been 'created' in the field of biology for many years now; the DNA (the bearer of instructions that specifies the characteristics of daughter cells) of bacterial cells is often tampered with in experiments to alter the characteristics of future generations of cells, essentially creating a new state of life for this organism; cloned organisms would not exist if we had not created them.
    Only organisms that are self-aware can even begin to contemplate the ethics of their actions. As Mr. Fergus points out above, life is a development that was driven by processes with no ability to consider right or wrong and occurred without the observance of an entity capable of questioning the morality of the creation of life. Similarly a phenomenon driven by evolution, speciation, created the diversity of life we see before us.
    There is nothing unethical about the creation of life. In fact the idea of morality as we know it can only arise from a progressive increase in complexity that eventually leads to human beings. So by all means create life, but it is important to make ethical choices regarding organisms that are capable of comprehending themselves.

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